Light heavyweight Phil Davis (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) could get a chance to cut back in line for No. 1 contender if he gets past his next challenge.
Sources close to the fight on Monday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the 28-year-old fighter is set to meet ex-champ Lyoto Machida (19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) at UFC 163, which takes place Aug. 3 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian website Portal do Vale Tudo first reported the fight on Monday.
The fight delays an anticipated title shot for Machida, who most recently defeated Dan Henderson via decision at UFC 157.
After turning down a fight with Jon Jones at UFC 152 due to a lack of preparation time, “The Dragon” has found himself on the backburner for a rematch with the champ, who rendered him unconscious via guillotine at UFC 140.
Machida has since set his sights on staying active rather than campaigning for the belt. Recently, he was targeted by Alexander Gustafsson, but Jones recently quashed that idea by requesting a bout with Gustafsson.
Since losing the belt in a rematch with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 113, Machida is 3-2 against top-fight competition. He won the No. 1 contender position with a KO of Ryan Bader at UFC on FOX 4, only to lose it upon turning Jones down and later win it back with a decision over Henderson.
Machida won the title at UFC 98 with a knockout of Rashad Evans.
Davis takes a steep step up in competition following a recent decision over Vinny Magalhaes at UFC 159. The former NCAA champ brushed with title contention early this past year when he fought Evans at UFC on FOX 2. But Evans dominated him over five rounds, and he was forced to go back to the drawing board. A pair of bouts with Wagner Prado ended in a no-contest (via accidental eyepoke) and a submission win before he met Magalhaes.
With the reported addition to the card, UFC 163 now includes:
For more on UFC 163, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Lyoto Machida)
(UPDATED on June 3, 2013, at 6 p.m. ET to add sources confirming the bout to MMAjunkie.com.)